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Cork City Councillor defends protest that disrupted meeting

The meeting was abandoned after household charge protestors unfurled banners and shouted slogans from the public gallery.

A still from a YouTube video of the meeting
A still from a YouTube video of the meeting
Image: Houlies via YouTube

A CORK CITY Councillor has defended the actions of protestors that led to a council meeting being abandoned last night.

The fortnightly Cork City Council meeting started at around 5.30pm and the protestors, numbering up to 60 people, entered the public gallery at about 7.15pm. They were part of an anti-Household Charge Campaign and are also opposed to water charges.

A previous Cork City Council meeting also saw similar protests taking place in October. Workers Party Councillor Ted Tynan said at last night’s meeting the protestors “upped the ante” and “pushed the boat out”.

Last night, Lord Mayor John Buttimer told TheJournal.ie that he had to abandon the meeting because of “constant shouting and barracking, abuse, catcalling and chanting”, and the “non-willingness” of protestors allow the council to continue.

Protests

Cllr Ted Tynan told TheJournal.ie that the people entered the galleries of the City Hall as the meeting was going through its normal business. “They proceeded to disrupt the meeting as a formal protest against the imposition of household and water charges. It was noisy but it was peaceful. It was determined. There was no aggression about it,” he said.

The protestors, who chanted slogans like ‘No way, we won’t pay’,  would not leave when requested by the Lord Mayor, and the meeting was suspended so that it could be resumed when they left. However the protestors “continued to shout slogans, make noise, a general nuisance of themselves”, said Tynan. He said that a number of councillors stayed in the chamber and decided not to leave until the protestors did.


Houlies/YouTube

The Lord Mayor then suspended the meeting indefinitely, said Cllr Tynan, adding that councillors were requested to leave and eventually did at around 10pm. Councillors and protestors were out on the landing outside the chamber, said Tynan, and the remaining councillors left via a side entrance to the chamber.

Gardaí were called to the scene and several of them dealt with the situation, but there were no arrests. They asked the protestors to leave, said Cllr Tynan.

When asked about whether protests at a council meeting are beneficial in any way to the anti-household charge protest, Cllr Tynan said: “It’s a political forum.” He said that if councillors “stood up and agreed with motions that would be criticising government austerity programmes, and cutbacks” this “would have some political clout”.

Read: Cork City Council meeting abandoned after property tax protests>

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